I am 100% convinced that hearing the Word of God preached is the main thing not only in the Christian’s worship on the Lord’s Day, but the main thing in the Christian’s worship everyday. Why do I think this? Because faith comes through hearing the Word preached (Romans 10:17). Because the Word of God contains all that is necessary for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Because the Word of God is the only revelation from God we have, we should not add to it or remove from it (Revelation 22:18-19). We should see to become people who sit under the Word of God in submission rather than people who stand over it in judgment. Bottom line: the Word of God, the Bible, is the richest delight to the believer because it is the only way God speaks to us.
Do you agree?
I would like to believe you agree with me, but my experience tells me otherwise. Having been preaching the Word of God for 10 years now I have seen error/laziness/misunderstanding in this area over and over in the lives of my hearers and in myself. People don’t have enough time in the day to make time for Bible reading, let alone Bible study. People don’t have enough intellect to understand the weighty things of the Scriptures and rather than learning more about them they remain ignorant and lean on ‘professional Christians’ (pastors) to explain these things to them. People have even told me that God speaks to them in a special manner and they therefore don’t need to read the Bible.
You may think those examples are far out there, sure maybe (but there true!) but you and I do it too, we’re just more sneaky about it. It becomes sneaky when we begin saying things like this, ‘Hearing the Word of God preached isn’t what I enjoy most about our church.’ Or, ‘Sermons are an outdated exercise, let’s have a dialogue instead.’ Or, ‘I don’t look forward to the preaching of the Word, rather when it happens I just kind of sit there while it happens to me, it’s the pastors job to preach, it’s not my job to listen.’
We have a problem, that needs to be fixed in our churches. We need to become people who are eager to hear the Word preached rather than mere disinterested onlookers. How do we fix this problem? We need to learn, practically, how to listen to sermons all over again. Yes, bad preaching is a big problem today and seminaries should be teaching their students how to preach better, but laypeople also need to be taught how to listen well during both good and bad preaching. This is God’s Word to us, and we should welcome it as such just as they did in the Church of Thessalonica (1 Thess. 2:13).
Therefore, for the next long while I’ll be blogging through a little known booklet written by Christopher Ash called, “LISTEN UP! A practical guide to listening to sermons.”
You need it.
I need it.
Get over it.